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May 04, 2013 10:05 PM

SD Tourism Secretary Expects Good Summer

Sioux Falls, SD

South Dakota has great places, and great faces to visit every summer.  Lately, however, warm summer-like temperatures have not made a trip to the state. 

"We are called the land of infinite variety and no doubt with the weather, we're staying true to that," Jim Hagen, South Dakota Secretary of Tourism, said.

Snow made yet another cameo in KELOLAND on the first day of May, then a week ago, and April's ice storm made a mess out of many cities and towns in the area.

"We're not the only state that seems to be experiencing endless winter, and so I think, every indication, every survey that we're seeing, every survey we're doing as a department shows it's going to be a good summer.  People want to get out and travel," Hagen said.

Hagen is no stranger to starting the busiest travel season in South Dakota under less than ideal conditions.  Tourism grew two years ago, despite the flood.  Even last summer's extreme heat and drought did not stop the department from experiencing five-percent growth in visitors to the state.

"The great thing about social media platforms and other areas where you can go and say, 'Hey, let me correct some misinformation that may be out there about what we've experienced,'" Hagen said.

Beyond social media trending, Hagen said the state itself is a strong enough draw to weather any of the elements.  The largest attractions, like Mount Rushmore, are not the only ones getting face time with visitors.

"You name it, we've got it, and there seems to be a real sentiment amongst Americans right now for authenticity and experiencing things that are truly Americana at their best and we've got that right here," Hagen said.

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